How To BUY USED Kayaks? | PRO TIPS from Kayaks Hub

Going through the situation where you don’t know how to buy used kayaks?

Yes, this situation comes in our life where we make transactions and it is true one transaction teaches you alot which the others afterwards don’t.

And what about the time when you have bought the bad kayak and then repenting on it? Quite embarrassing. Right?


But you need not to worry because I will talk of my experience and drive you through that process. You will be taught to the extent that you can also help others making decision for buying a good kayak as well.

Why you should a consider a used kayak?

It is quite on trending that people a buying old kayaks rather than new ones and for a reason. The reason may be that you liked a kayak model you saw online or someone owning it but its original price is quite expensive.

The second reason may be that you are out of budget and you want to enjoy kayaking at any cost because of your affection with it. And you want that kayak while being out of budget. And don’t want budget as a hinderance between you and enjoyment.

The third reason that while investing less on the kayak, you have further more options to invest like accessories of the kayak. If you are an angler you will look for the fishing rods or good paddles or hunting accessories maybe.

Quick Tip

Always ask the owner of the kayak to bring the kayak near the water body where you can practically check it.

Evaluating the CONDITION of the used kayak

Overall look

Firstly, have a bird eye view of the kayak you want to buy which includes the overall wear and tear of the kayak. By thoroughly inspecting various components, you can determine the kayak’s overall quality and any potential areas of concern. Most people judge in a first glimpse how much old the kayak is. This helps you understand the much better picture.

buying used kayaks

Take a closer look at the exterior for signs of wear and tear. You may find the scratches on the kayak, you may also find dents and also faded areas.

Check for cracks (if any) or damaged hull and ensure whether it is still capable of providing a safe and smooth paddling experience.

Inspecting the Hull and Deck

Examining the hull and deck of the kayak is essential to understand the history of use and potential durability issues.

Look for the scratches or punctures on the hull and the areas which are highly impacted like bow and stern. Also, don’t forget to check for the deformities the hull and deck, such as warping or bending which affects your kayak’s performance on water.

Examining Rudder and Skeg Systems

If the kayak is equipped with rudder or skeg system, don’t forget to check it also. Check for the two things:

Operational Check: Go through all the mechanisms and ensures it moves smoothly and all the parts are responding accurately to all the adjustments.

Leak Detection: Inspect the area around the rudder of skeg housing, as water ingress can lead to the performance issues or structural damage. And who would own a kayak which is leaking?

See Also | Best Sit-on-top Kayaks under $300

Maintenance History and Storage

Always ask from the owner and also check by yourself how the kayak was maintained and stored by its previous owner. By this, you can have insights into its overall condition and longevity.

Reviewing Maintenance Practices

Learn about the maintenance routine which were followed by the previous owner to gauge the level of care given to the kayak over time. Ask for the cleaning agents which were used on the kayak against the UV rays and to maintain it.

Quick Tip

Ask the owner of the kayak whether UV protection products, such as 303 Aerospace Protectant, were applied to prevent sun damage to the kayak’s materials.

Analyze the storage condition of the kayak because the way a kayak is stored can significantly impact its condition and performance over time. Consider the factors like indoor-outdoor storage and suspension-support system.

Determine whether the kayak was stored inside or outside because UV rays eat the kayak’s material. Though the kayak material may look shiny or sturdy at initial but from inside it has rotten away due to the sunlight. Elements exposed to the sunlight can affect the durability of the thing.

Assess how kayak was stored when it was not used. Make sure that it was carefully suspended from slings or was rest on supports, to prevent warping or deformation of the hull. If not, this may not be good for you in the future.

Conducting a test paddle

How To BUY USED Kayaks? | PRO TIPS from Kayaks Hub

As I said before that for the sake of testing the kayak, make sure you call the previous owner of the kayak (if you know him/her) near the water body. It can not be done if you have ordered the kayak from an online marketplace like Amazon or eBay. By the way, these two are the good marketplaces where you can buy used kayaks in reasonable prices.

However, a single test or two three tests are more than enough to test a kayak. It allows you to assess the kayak’s performance and ensures that it meets your needs.

Assessing Comfort and Fit

During the test paddle, check for the comfortability of the kayak, most particularly, the seats. Assess if the seat will be comfortable for longer periods in the future. Though, you can buy new and better ones but you want everything in the single place. Ensure it provides adequate support for your back.

Your legs and hips are the key to comfortability. You will not like that your hips are going out of the kayak and making your feel uncomfortable and effecting stability of the kayak. You should feel secure but not cramped.

Evaluating Performance

Now, paddle the kayak to see the performance how well it tracks (goes straight) and how stable it feels. A good kayak should be stable and responsive to your movements.

Test the rudder and skeg to ensure they function smoothly. These features will help you with steering and maintaining a straight course.

How To BUY USED Kayaks? | PRO TIPS from Kayaks Hub

Repair and Warranty Considerations

The main thing you will have to identify is the history of past repairs, such as patches or uneven surfaces. You may ask the seller about the nature and extent of any repairs.

In case you find any type of patch or repair, deeply analyze the quality of repairs. Well repaired kayak should not effect the performance and durability of the kayak.

Checking for Existing Warranty

Always ensure your legal safety and check if the kayak warranty is still valid and it can be transferred to you. A valid warranty can be a significant advantage.

In the warranty, make sure that modifications made by the previous owner may not void the warranty. Confirm the warranty status before making a decision.

Negotiating the Purchase before buying

This is the thing which goes throughout the process. Because, from starting to last (in buying the used kayak), whenever, you see a better used kayak good in budget from the previous one, you will definitely check it too.

However, research the market prices for similar used kayaks to ensure that you get the best deal. As mentioned before that you can explore the bigger marketplaces like Amazon and eBay to get the best kayak in affordable price for you.

How to Negotiate the price?

Start with lower but fair offer but ensure it is reasonable based on your research. This will give you room to negotiate while showing respect for the seller.

Also, consider negotiating for the inclusion of the necessary accessories like paddles, life vests, or spray skirts. These can add significant value to your purchase.

If possible, negotiate delivery arrangements, especially if the kayak is located far from you.

You can use the factor like any anticipated repair or upgrade costs to lower the cost of the kayak. Use these as leverage in your negotiations to get a better price.

Wrapping it up

Before taking permission from you, I want to make sure that whenever you buy an old used kayaks, always keep those things in consideration and you will not repent on what you have bought.

Always, be a good negotiator because here things get more complicated rather than in checking kayak. By negotiating, you get your best offer while buying your vessel. Happy paddling!


  • David Graham

    Meet David Graham, an avid kayaker based in Florida, USA, who has been mastering the art of kayaking since 2013. As a former trainer with three years of experience, David has shaped the skills of numerous kayakers, sharing his passion for the sport. Living in a state known for its diverse waterways, his expertise and commitment to kayaking go beyond personal pursuits, making him a valuable contributor to the local kayaking community.

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